Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let's talk about the Mayor's race

Yes, we're still a month away from filing deadline, and yes, I know I've endorsed someone for Mayor.

For the moment, however, we're going to put all that aside and address some things that have been on my mind.  First, to Mayor Herenton, why, based on the past four years, should we even consider you for another term?  As the late Branch Rickey would say, the arrow is pointing DOWN for Memphis.  

As crime has soared, you've gone through more police directors than Spinal Tap went through drummers.  Sure, Downtown has done better under your stewardship than under any mayor we've had in the last 35 years, which is how long I have lived here.

What about the area of the city that Polar Donkey calls THE C? You know, Mr. Mayor, where most of the people live who believed in you on that night in 1991 when you made their dreams come true, or so they thought?  Frankly, sir, those people have gotten the shaft, unless they happen to have a contract with the City.  Mr. Mayor, it's time for you to go back to Banneker Estates and retire and play with your grandchildren and, well, your younger children.

Now, to those of you who wish to succeed him, ALL OF YOU, I have some things to say to you, too.

First, we KNOW what the problems of the City of Memphis are, it's mighty hard to avoid them.  Tell us, IN DETAIL, what you plan to do about them.  Remember that old saw, "The Devil's in the details"?  Each of you had better lay out your plans and not rely on some vague bullshit that a political consultant has told you would work on those good, but EASY voters.  That's not going to work because we're going to call you on it.

We don't need you to tell us why Mayor Herenton should be replaced, we KNOW why.  We need you to tell us why we should replace him with YOU.

Tell us why you want to be Mayor.  Tell us how you intend to work with the new Council (which should be at least HALF filled with rookies) to achieve consensus.  Tell us how you are going to attack crime in a way that REALLY works.  And, in DETAIL, of course.

Tell us how you intend to remedy the situation where banks flee THE C, to be replaced with more liquor stores and check-cashing stores, which charge usurious rates to the very people who can least afford it.

Tell the people of Frayser, North Memphis, South Memphis, Binghampton, Whitehaven, Westwood, Orange Mound and Hickory Hill what you plan to do to make them safer, and how you need THEIR help to make it work.

Tell us how you plan to work to make taxes fairer for those on fixed incomes.  Tell us how you plan to reduce needless spending on things we don't need to public sector to pay for, like a new stadium for the Tigers, the Classic and the Liberty Bowl.

What. is that too much for you?  Anyone?  Bueller? Bueller?

If it is, then God's Best Buddy is just waiting to hear that and be re-elected.

If that happens, it may leave more long-lasting damage on this city than a dozen New Madrid Fault quakes, and from that, we may not recover.

Candidates, you know what you have to do, so DO IT.

Unless, of course, you want four more years of this.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. Of course, it's hard to come up with solutions to a city's most intractable problems; but it surely would be good to hear more than "I want to be in office."

If you don't provide a forum for this, I will.

LeftWingCracker said...

'Mute, we ALL should, we need to get a REAL conversation about what's needed going...

polar donkey said...

You know LWC, there are options for helping alleviate poverty and social problems in the "C", but I haven't heard any candidate talk about it. Here are some of mine.
A) The Memphis non-profit sector is very large, but it is fragmented and organizations have overlapping services and cutting each others throats for funding. A visionary mayor would use the GIS mapping that I did to help the sector become more efficient, coordinate the provision of services, and become a center for urban research. A small investment would reap huge gains over a few short years.
B) The United States is going to have to make a fundamental shift in its energy use and consumption in less than a generation. That means converting to solar, wind, hydroelectric, etc power. That is a huge undertaking which will spur manufacturing. Cities like Portland are attracting manufacturers. Other areas, like in Alberta Canada, are making refineries to provide the specialty raw materials. Screw football stadiums and expensive affectations Downtown, use that money to attract those cutting edge companies. We have a distribution system, labor pool, and water. Why can't we have that here?
C) Although no candidate will say this out loud, encourage Bredsen to come in and take over the Memphis city school system. It's broken and vultures are feeding off of the patronage system derived from the contracts. The MCS eats up $800 to $900 million a year. We aren't getting the proper return in quality education for that much investment.
D) Go after predatory lenders. Stop bleeding your own citizens.

leftwingcarolinablue said...

I would say alleviation of crime and hopelessness in more places than "The C." There are too many people--we know some of them--who are inhibited in finding better paying jobs through a lack of adequate public transportation, especially on weekends. In my twenty-seven year affiliation with Memphis, I have never been able to grasp why a city this large can't create, fund and manage a mass transit system that runs more routes and subsequently can serve more people. That sort of thing is, if I may, logically part of what Polar Donkey mentioned in his post as well.

polar donkey said...

CarolinaBlue, You are right. MATA is a clusterf***k. You can't even access the bus routes on-line. Public Transportation in Memphis is embarassing.